Bob was totally exhausted, but he had finally made it.
In front of him stood the result of three years of hard work and a lot of money. Traveling is expensive these days, and more so if you’re searching for an obscure place like this. It had certainly taken it’s toll both on him and his wallet.
He almost couldn’t believe it.
Bob had often doubted himself and his “foolish idea” (as his now ex-wife often said), but today all of those doubts were swept away by the majestic sight in front of him.
It was a sight he never wanted to forget.
Bob had finally discovered the lost – and very well-hidden – temple that held the secrets of all Martial Arts known to man.
It was The Source.
Here he was sure to find out the answer to all those questions that had nagged him his whole life – from the time he was being bullied in kindergarten all the way to winning his first trophy in the ‘National Interstate McDojo Superleague Championships Ultimate’, of which he was mighty proud.
Martial arts had always been a passion, no let me rephrase that, an obsession to Bob, and throughout his life everyone around him had known that. But what they never knew was that Bob wasn’t satisfied. Trophies, fame and glory meant little to Bob, because truthfully he was fed up with that.
It didn’t cut it anymore.
Bob was hollow inside.
And that feeling (along with a lot of prize money accumulated during his tournament years) was what finally made him end up here, surrounded by mountains in the middle of nowhere.
This was where his life would finally get a meaning.
“Bob… This is what you’ve searched for your whole life. Don’t get sentimental now” he though to himself as he stood in the darkness, gazing at the old temple standing on the cliff in front of him.
I wish I could tell you the name of the temple, but the ancient manuscripts only mention it as “The Temple”. Bob knows that for sure, because he has all of those manuscripts. And if you ask him, they were worth every penny.
And apparently his house and car too.
“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” – that’s what Bob’s father used to tell him all the time as a kid, and Bob has lived by it ever since.
Looking at the snowcovered scenery in front of him, Bob now spotted them.
Just where his notes said they would be.
So he started climbing them. No time to waste – it was getting darker.
After what seemed like an hour, Bob finally reached the top of the stairs ten minutes later.
His parka totally covered in sweat.
These tremendously long stairs had traditionally been used as a sort of rite of passage for new monks in the temple, but Bob was a little bit more muscular than your average monk. Actually, big muscles had always been important to Bob, that’s something his first soke had taught him. “If you can’t beat them with skill, use muscles!” he used to say, and Bob had always kept that in mind.
But now he was here, in front of a big wooden gate at the top of the stairs. All he had to do was knock.
The wind was getting stronger.
Knock, knock, knock!
And a kick too. Boom!
His overwhelmingly expensive ‘All American Ranger Marine Warrior Awesomeness’ boots finally came to use. He gave off a self-satisfied smirk and made a mental note to call his ex-wife and tell her that later.
Now something was about to happen.
With a squeak the door slowly began to open. Orange, warm, light poured out of the narrow opening into the blackness that surrounded Bob, and hopeful was probably the best word to describe Bob with right now.
Hopeful, curious, excited and a little bit afraid.
He had no idea what waited inside.
The archaic manuscripts never made it this far.
Bob stepped back to make room for the giant door to open in front of him, when it suddenly stopped.
“That’s strange… Well, I’ll just go ahead and take matters into my own hands then” Bob thought and – seeing a chance to use his muscles – he grabbed the heavy metal handle with both hands and pulled the door wide open. The light from a thousand burning candles blinded him for a moment, but his eyes quickly adjusted and the sight in front of him was amazing, to say the least.
In front of him were two rows of monks praying. One row to the left, and one to the right.
And they all had candles in front of them.
Looking to his left, Bob could see a small room with two kids in it, but they quickly ran away when they saw the big foreigner that was Bob.
“Chickens…” Bob chuckled.
Bob switched focus back to his mission again, and began to slowly walk forward between the two perfectly aligned rows of praying monks.
But something wasn’t right.
Except the fact that nobody had seemed to notice him, the monks were doing something even more strange. They were not praying with their hands clasped, like in normal temples and monasteries.
There was something very special about these monks, Bob could tell that.
Here’s what the monks did. In unison, all monks continually switched between three things:
First, they did some strange sound with their mouths, like “Pthu!”
Then, they flicked their right hand down in the air, smoothly yet quickly, like “Swoosh!”
And finally, they clapped their hands together in front of them forcefully, “Smack!”
These sounds had some weird hyponotic effect on Bob, because soon enough he was like in a trance – “Pthu!”, “Swoosh!”, “Smack!”… “Pthu!”, “Swoosh!”, “Smack!”… “Pthu!”, “Swoosh!”, “Smack!”…
Over, and over, again.
“Hey, Bobby Boy, focus now! You’re here for a reason, remember? Find out their secret before it’s too late!” Bob told himself, and snapped back to reality.
He kept walking forward, ignoring the monks doing their strange ritual on his sides.
Suddenly, somebody stood before him in the darkness.
“Greetings, Bob”, the abbot said.
It was the head honcho of the temple, Bob could sense it. “How else could this old bearded man know my name?” Bob thought.
“We have been expecting you” the abbot continued.
Bob looked deep into the abbot’s black eyes. They had to be at least two hundred years old.
“Me? You have been expecting me? How did you know who I was? And what else do you know about me besides my name?!” Bob said, feeling a little taken off guard.
He was supposed to be the one asking questions, not this old turtle in front of him!
“We know what we need to know. And what we don’t know we don’t want to know. But what we do know is that you are here for a reason. And you will not find your answer here, my friend. Please leave us.”
Bob was actually completely lost after the abbots second sentence, but he still tried to come up with a clever retort.
“Tell me the secret!” Bob suddenly exclaimed. That irritating “Pthu – Swoosh – Smack” –chanting in the background was getting on his nerves, and his emotions had clearly taken over.
The abbot closed his eyes, and looked down for a second.
“How should I put this… Bob, there is no secret”, the abbot said.
“Cut the crap old man! I didn’t spend a fortune traveling around the world in search for this place if I didn’t know there was a secret hidden in this twisted temple! So just give it to me already!”
Bob was getting really agitated.
The abbot looked up at Bob – with a hint of sorrow in his eyes – and heaved a deep sigh.
“What, you’re tired now!? Just tell me the goddamn…”
The abbot suddenly spat right in the face of Bob.
“What the…” was all Bob had time to say, as he started to wipe the spit away with his hands, when the second sound came.
The abbot swiftly and effortlessly flicked his right hand straight into the crotch of Bob, making him drop to his knees and screen in agony with his hands covering his now swollen manhood.
“Aaaaargh! What are you doi…” was all Bob had time to scream, as the coup de grâce landed.
The abbot clapped his hands.
With Bob’s head in between.
It felt like Bob’s eardrums would explode.
Bob could only hear his own heart beating, fast. Everything else went totally silent. With spit in his eyes, a bulging crotch and blown out eardrums, Bob was rolling around on the cold stone floor in fetal position, with only one thought in his head:
“What is this evil place!?”
Well, Bob never got the answer to that, because seconds later he found himself faceplanting in a hard pile of snow right outside the temple. The big doors slammed behind him.
He couldn’t hear it of course, but he felt it.
Bob eventually gathered some strength and managed to open his eyes. The stars were out. At least his sight was okay.
Under him the cold snow felt comforting somehow, so he packed some into his pants. “Well, I guess I won’t have to worry about kids for a while…” he joked to himself.
Being able to joke about everything had always been one of Bob’s strong sides.
He slowly started to crawl towards the stairs that led down from the mountain.
Bob was through with his quest.
He never wanted to look back, and he never wanted to have anything to do with this godforsaken temple, its evil abbot, or its “fake and non-existent secrets”!
At least that’s what Bob thought.
And so did the hundreds of other foreigners who had come before him and gotten the exact same treatment.
“Pthu!”, “Swoosh!”, “Smack!”…
Some things are best kept secret.